Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Red Bull Ring, 2021

Sainz praises Ferrari “teamwork” with Mercedes after unlapping himself from Hamilton

2021 Austrian Grand Prix

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Carlos Sainz Jnr expressed his gratitude for the “teamwork” between Ferrari and Mercedes after he was able to unlap himself from Lewis Hamilton during the Styrian Grand Prix.

The Ferrari driver was pursuing fifth-placed Lando Norris when Hamilton put him a lap down in the second half of the race. But as the Mercedes driver’s lap times dropped off, Sainz found he was being held up up, which presented a “tricky” situation.

“I am P6, he’s P2; he’s fighting for the championship and I am fighting to try and catch Lando for P5,” said Sainz.

“At that time I let him by because he was running in [one minute] 8.5, 8.6 that at the time was quicker than what I can do with the hard.

“But then suddenly he had a drop in pace and I could actually keep getting quicker with the hard tyre. Suddenly I got really close to him for 10 laps and I was stuck 1.5 to two seconds behind him.”

Although he was able to lap quicker, Sainz couldn’t initially get within the one second range of the Mercedes driver which would have allowed him to use DRS.

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“If I would have got into DRS I would have probably tried to unlap myself. The problem is I just couldn’t get into DRS because the Mercedes is actually not that bad, obviously, in the corners.

“Then suddenly I managed to get into DRS and I just warned my team that I was obviously wanting to unlap myself to try and go and get Lando.”

Sainz said the teams worked together to ensure neither driver’s race was badly compromised as he passed the Mercedes.

“There was very good teamwork there between my team, the FIA and Mercedes to just make the move as simple and as danger-less as possible for both of us because obviously I didn’t want to ruin his race and any kind of bad situation.

“So it worked perfectly and unfortunately just cost me 10 to 15 laps of race time. But I cannot really complain too much because it’s a race circumstance.”

This article will be updated

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2021 Austrian Grand Prix

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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16 comments on “Sainz praises Ferrari “teamwork” with Mercedes after unlapping himself from Hamilton”

  1. Coventry Climax
    1st July 2021, 13:05

    Not sure that that is something we, the spectators, should be happy with too. There’s so much overtakes without fights already. It’s becoming more and more of a pitwall contest instead of a driver contest.
    It used to be that in motorracing, even if the car behind you was quicker, you’d still try to keep him behind.

    1. Really? There is no contest between cars that are a lap apart. There shouldn’t be a fight.

      It’s sensible to allow the car that is a lap down but faster to unlap with the minimum time loss for both cars. I’m glad the FIA and the teams enabled it to happen.

      What would be the point of Sainz making wild moves on Hamilton, or Hamilton defending against them?

    2. pastaman (@)
      1st July 2021, 13:27

      It’s called context and nuance, you should try it

    3. I remember a certain redbull driver fighting with a backmarker who tried to unlap himself. How did that turn out again?

      Reply moderated
    4. someone or something
      1st July 2021, 13:32

      Are you seriously suggesting that this is somehow a bad thing? Two teams/drivers, who weren’t fighting for position, just coincidentally occupying the same piece of the track, finding a reasonable solution that works for both?

      I can understand Norris’ refusal to defend his position against the Red Bull and Mercedes being unpopular. But two cars on different laps arranging to get out of each other’s way? I lack the imagination to see what could be wrong with that.

    5. Why would Hamilton want to keep Sainz behind though? Sainz was in a completely different race to Hamilton, a lap behind. What would Hamilton possibly game by trying to stop him?

      Reply moderated
  2. What a non-story.

    If anything, I’d like to know why Sainz would consider Mercedes’ campaign more important than theirs. Or was he afraid of a Irvine-Schumacher post race moment? Both speaks of a wuss.

    1. eeh typo, meant Irvine-Senna of course

    2. Both of their campaigns benefited though. He let Lewis through so he didn’t lose time to the car he was racing with. And vice versa.

      Am I missing something in your comment @Balue?

      1. @gongtong

        I am fighting to try and catch Lando for P5

        unfortunately just cost me 10 to 15 laps of race time

        1. someone or something
          1st July 2021, 16:18

          @balue
          The article answers that.
          He said he was stuck 1.5 to 2 seconds behind Hamilton for a good while, unable to use DRS or get within striking distance. Before Hamilton’s tyres started dropping, there was no way the swap could happen. But once he did come close enough (after Hamilton’s lap times went up), it was in Hamilton’s best interest to orchestrate a seamless swap. Unfortunately for Sainz, that opportunity came too late, after losing a sizeable amount of time.

          1. …a non story. I guess.

          2. someone or something
            2nd July 2021, 10:35

            @gongtong
            Absolutely.

          3. ..but it involved RaceFans two favorites and then it became a story I guess. They even ‘worked together’.

          4. someone or something
            3rd July 2021, 12:07

            @balue
            This ‘story’ exists because it sheds some light on a rare situation, and how it leads to a short-lived cooperation between teams that would usually take every opportunity to hurt each other.
            The ‘story’ you perceived involved ‘favorites’, who ‘worked together’, including one of them considering the other team’s ‘campaign more important than theirs’.
            In other words: One reading leads to a better understanding of the thought processes in the cockpits and on the pit walls.
            The other reading veers into conspiration territory, but fails to give any sort of reasonable explanation as to why one of the involved parties would ever act this way.
            Do you ever go back to read what you’ve written? That was so bizarre, it had me wondering whether we’d looked at the same piece of HTML …

  3. Interesting that chart to see where they were faster or slower.

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